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Queensland to introduce mandatory nurse-to-patient ratios

Minimum of one nurse to four patients on daytime shifts

The Australian state of Queensland is to become the latest territory to introduce mandatory nurse-to-patient ratios that are enforceable by law.

Health minister Cameron Dick told nurse educationalists meeting in Brisbane that a ratio of one nurse to four patients will be piloted at a number of hospitals from June. Ratios of one to seven will apply at night.

Mr Dick said the ratios were necessary because there is compelling evidence that patient outcomes improve significantly when there are more, better qualified nurses on duty. The ratios will be rolled out across the state if the pilots are deemed a success, he told the 6th International Nurse Education Conference.

The Australian state of Victoria, which includes the city of Melbourne, already has similar ratios.

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